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Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on Urgent National and Local Concerns and the Performance Ratings of the Duterte Administration on Selected Issues from the September 2016 Ulat ng Bayan national survey. We request you to assist us in informing the public by disseminating this information.

The survey fieldwork was conducted from September 25 – October 1, 2016 using face-to-face interviews.

Among the key developments which dominated the headlines in the days leading up to the fieldwork for this survey and during the actual conduct of the interviews are the following:

1. The initial testimony before the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights of Mr. Edgar Matobato, an alleged hitman belonging to the so-called Davao Death Squad, wherein he linked President Rodrigo R. Duterte to the extrajudicial killing of about 1,000 criminal suspects and political opponents of the President while he was serving as mayor of Davao City from 1988 to 2013;

2. President Duterte’s statement that he does not know Mr. Matobato personally; the denial made by Davao City Paolo Duterte that he ordered the killing of a businessman as alleged by the hitman; and the remarks of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella that the President and his administration continue to be committed to their anti-drug campaign amidst various controversies;

3. The concern expressed by various international bodies, primarily the United Nations (UN),  and foreign leaders over the increasing number of drug-related deaths in the country since President Duterte assumed office on 30 June 2016; groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called for an investigation into the serious allegations against President Duterte; the invitation extended by the President to leaders of the UN and the European Union to a debate on human rights and extrajudicial killings even as he maintained that the country’s police and military forces are not involved in the drug-related killings;

4. The apology issued by President Duterte to the Jewish communities around the world when he referred to the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler in connection with his ongoing campaign against drugs; the President clarified that he mentioned Hitler only because some of his critics have likened him to the Nazi leader as a result of his approach to his war on drugs;

5. The removal of Senator Leila de Lima as chairperson of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee which is looking into the extrajudicial killings in the country which have occurred since President Duterte took office; Senator Richard Gordon assumed the post left by Senator de Lima; President Duterte’s vow to continue his campaign to ‘kill all drug lords’ no matter what the findings of the Committee will be;

6. The investigation at the House of Representatives into the proliferation of drug syndicates and illegal drugs at the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) as well as the reported links of Senator de Lima, while she was Justice Secretary, to drug lords who supposedly gave her millions in campaign funds for her senatorial bid in the May 2016 elections; Senator de Lima  said she will not attend the hearing which, she claimed, is only being done to persecute her publicly;

7. The release of another list by President Duterte which contains the names of 40 local judges and some Chinese nationals who are reported to have links to illegal drugs; prior to this, the President stated that he would need an extension of six (6) months on the deadline of three (3) to six (6) months he imposed on himself to deal with the problem of illegal drugs in the country, the extent of which he was not aware of until he became president;

8. The approval in principle by the House Committee on Transportation of the proposal to grant emergency powers to President Duterte to enable him to address the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila while at the Senate, the Committee on Public Services conducted its hearings on the matter and is set to come up with a draft bill in November 2016;

9. The accusation made by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano against the Liberal Party (LP)  to the effect that the Senate testimony of Mr. Matobato is part of a grand plan to oust President Duterte and have Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo assume the presidential post; similarly, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said he has heard unverified reports regarding a plan by some Filipino-Americans to oust President Duterte by January 2017; the Vice-President and the LP assured the public that they continue to support the reforms being initiated by the current administration;

10. The commemoration of the signing of Presidential Decree (PD) 1081 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, with various protest actions being held in different parts of the country; President Duterte said he is not inclined to declare martial law in order to help resolve serious problems in the country such as illegal drugs;

11. The passing away of former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on 29 September 2016 after losing her battle against lung cancer; and

12. In the economic front, the depreciation of the local currency against the American dollar which, according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, is due to the strengthening of the dollar as a result of the impending increase in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve System and not because of several controversial pronouncements made by President Duterte; and the slippage in the country’s rating in the Global Competitiveness Report by 10 notches.

As in our previous Ulat ng Bayan surveys, this nationwide survey is based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level.  Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey (i.e., Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a ± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level. Those interested in further technical details concerning the survey’s questionnaire and sampling design may request Pulse Asia Research in writing for fuller details, including copies of the pre-tested questions actually used.

Pulse Asia Research’s pool of academic fellows takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data. In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes.  Pulse Asia Research undertakes Ulat ng Bayan surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.

For any clarification or questions, kindly contact Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, Research Director of Pulse Asia Research at 09189436816 or Ronald D. Holmes, Pulse Asia Research President at 09189335497 or via email (ronald.holmes@gmail.com).

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With regard to national issues, Filipinos are most concerned about the need to increase workers’ pay (46%); levels of public concern remain generally unchanged between July and September 2016

Nearly half of Filipinos (46%) cite increasing workers’ pay as the national issue which should be immediately addressed by the Duterte administration. A second set of national concerns deemed urgent by Filipinos includes creating more jobs (38%), controlling inflation (37%), fighting corruption in government (32%), reducing poverty (32%), and fighting criminality (31%). The third most often mentioned urgent national concerns are promoting peace in the country (20%) and enforcing the rule of law (14%). Reducing the amount of taxes paid by citizens (12%), protecting the environment (10%), controlling rapid population growth (9%), and protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (8%) make up a fourth cluster of urgent national concerns cited by Filipinos. In contrast, Filipinos are least concerned about terrorism (5%), national territorial integrity (5%), and charter change (2%). (Please refer to Table 1.)


The leading first-mentioned urgent national concerns are workers’ pay (19%), criminality (14%), and inflation (13%). In the case of second-mentioned concerns, the top responses are workers’ pay (16%), inflation (13%), job creation (12%), poverty (12%), and corruption (11%). As for third-mentioned issues, heading the list are job creation (14%), workers’ pay (11%), corruption (11%), inflation (10%), poverty (9%), and criminality (9%).

Across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings, the only majority urgent national concern is workers’ pay, which is cited by 53% of those belonging to the poorest Class E. In the rest of Luzon and Class D, the most often cited urgent national concerns are workers’ pay (45% to 49%) and job creation (38%). As for Metro Manilans, they are most concerned about workers’ pay (46%), job creation (35%), corruption (35%), and criminality (32%). Visayans, on the other hand, are most concerned about workers’ pay (45%), job creation (39%), inflation (33%), and corruption (33%). In Mindanao, the most often mentioned concerns are inflation (48%), workers’ pay (41%), and job creation (40%). And among those in the best-off Class ABC, their top concerns are inflation (38%), workers’ pay (37%), corruption (37%), criminality (37%), job creation (28%), peace (27%), poverty (24%), taxation (20%), and population growth (15%). (Please refer to Table 2.)


On the other hand, Filipinos in all geographic areas and socio-economic grouping are least concerned about preparing to successfully face terroristic threats (4% to 6% and 2% to 6%, respectively), defending national territorial integrity against foreigners (4% to 6% and 1% to 6%, respectively), and amending the 1987 Philippine Constitution (1% to 4% and 2% to 5%, respectively).

Between July and September 2016, levels of public concern for various issues remain essentially constant. The only significant movement during this period is the drop in the percentage of Filipinos who identify criminality as an urgent national concern         (-21 percentage points). The other changes are marginal in nature, including the increase in the level of concern for workers’ pay and job creation (both at +6 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 3.)


The Duterte administration enjoys majority approval scores (51% to 89%) on all 12 issues on which it is performance-rated in September 2016

Most Filipinos express appreciation for the Duterte administration’s handling of all issues on which its initial performance is evaluated in this survey. Levels of approval range from 51% for its efforts to control inflation to 89% for its anti-crime initiatives. In contrast, Filipinos are most critical of its work in the area of controlling the spiraling cost of goods (17%) and least inclined to disapprove of its efforts to fight criminality (3%). Ambivalence levels vary from 8% to the current administration’s work in the area of fighting criminality to 32% for its efforts to control inflation (Please refer to Table 4.)


Topping the list of local issues which the Duterte administration should immediately address is peace and order (27.4%)

A little more than a quarter of Filipinos (27.4%) consider peace and order as the local issue which should be acted upon by the present dispensation at once. Meanwhile, four (4) local issues comprise a second set of urgent local concerns cited by Filipinos – public infrastructure improvements (13.2%), employment (11.9%), waste management and sanitation (11.2%), and access to a sufficient and reliable water supply (9.9%). Other local issues identified by at least 1% of Filipinos are flooding (6.0%), health-related concerns (4.4%), traffic (2.9%), agriculture (2.0%), low cost housing/relocation (1.5%), access to electricity (1.1%), and governance (1.1%). Additionally, 4.7% of Filipinos do not mention any issues in their place or community which should be immediately addressed by the Duterte administration. (Please refer to Table 5.)



Peace and order is the leading local concern in Metro Manila (41.7%), the Visayas (28.2%), Class ABC (43.0%), and Class D (28.0%). Those in the rest of Luzon are most concerned about peace and order (22.4%), employment (15.8%), access to a sufficient and reliable water supply (13.5%), public infrastructure movements (12.6%), waste management and sanitation (10.9%). Among Mindanaoans, the most often cited urgent local concerns are peace and order (27.9%) and public infrastructure improvements (20.2%). And for those in Class E, they are most concerned about peace and order (22.1%) and employment (14.0%).